It’s not uncommon for pageant contestants to talk about wanting to change the world for the better, but on May 24 one Miss Canada Petite finalist got serious about her cause.
The Edessa Banquet Hall in Toronto hosted the Good Karma Fundraiser for Arbela Gewargis, 2013 finalist for Miss Canada Petite. Her event helped raise $2,000 for her chosen charity, Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation (CCC).
Gewargis made the decision to fundraise for cancer charities last December, and believes that this work could be her greatest calling.
“My dream since I was young was to try and make a difference in children’s lives,” she says. “I want to raise money and spread the word that no matter what illness, or downfall you hit in life, you will always be beautiful!
“I believe raising this money to help [cancer patients] get good treatment and fight [the disease] will be the biggest accomplishment of my lifetime,” Gewargis continues. “I have always had the thought of trying to help and make a difference in some way, and this time I feel like I have!”
Founded in 1987, CCC is entirely devoted to fighting childhood cancer and providing support for children with the disease and their families. The foundation is partnered with all of Canada’s 17 childhood cancer hospitals and treatment centres. The group looks to “ensure that children with cancer are exposed to kinder and gentler treatments that will not only cure them, but leave them with an improved quality of life into adulthood.”
CCC is the founding partner of C17, the Council of Pediatric Haematologists/Oncologists, which represents Canada’s leading pediatric oncologists. Together they act as an authoritative voice on the interests of kids with cancer, and set the agenda for nationwide research. The foundation has also developed several support programs for kids with cancer, including TeenConnector, a Web site where teens with cancer can talk about their journey with young survivors.
Gewargis used fliers and social media to promote her fundraiser, and thinks using her Facebook page to get the word out really helped attendance.
“The highlight of the event was when I started to see people walk through the doors. I personally was not expecting a lot of people to show up, and I was proven wrong. My family was there to support [the cause], and it was amazing just to see people that care in this world. A lot of people came out that I had never seen in my life.”
She admits that putting the fundraiser together “was very tiring” since she wanted everything to be perfect and didn’t want to forget anything, but she does have some words of wisdom for other event planners.
“The only advice I would offer someone planning a similar event is to not over-think the party. [You’ll be] stressed until the day of the fundraiser, when everything is going to turn out fine [in the end].”